Alaska Highway

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Gerard, May 19, 2008.

  1. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Gotthard -
    I have been fortunate enough to have seen this highway for a considerable distance having flown from Vancouver to Whitehorse, Yukon - via Prince George - Fort Nelson - Watson Lake many times - thankfully "flown " being the operative word - as it is very long way by road. It is still a remarkable achievement by many hundreds of men in very difficult conditions most of the time - to be able to read a newspaper by the light of the sun at always gave me a kick - they are special people up there !
  3. macrusk

    macrusk Proud Daughter

    I saw the thread and thought you might like to see an envelope from the Alaska Highway during WWII from my Grandfather who worked on it (a Canadian) to my Dad who was serving the Canadina Army in England/NW Europe. Mr. Canning, may ask how you were there to see it "many times." My Dad had some of his growing up in the Peace River country and Edmonton, but he was posted there with the RCAF after the war around 1950. I believe he, my mother and brothers were there for about 2 years. My Grandfather ended up living in Whitehorse until his death in the early 1960s, so I certainly feel connected to the highway despite not having the opportunity yet to travel it.

    Attached Files:

  4. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Macrusk -
    You ask "how I have managed to see the Alaska Highway many times ?" - as I pointed out in my first posting - I have been to Whitehorse via Watson lake - Fort Nelson many times, but always flying from either Vancouver or Calgary - sometimes from Fort Nelson - and have been on the Oilsands - before the big boys moved in to Fort Mc Murrey.

    I also worked in Calgary and usually in June of each year I had to visit our branch operations in Valleyview - Fort St John - Dawson creek and on to Whitehorse so I had ample opportunity to see the highway. Then later I lived in Kelowna and Vernon and again travelled the #97 Highway which almost directly connects to the Alaska Highway.

    Highway #97 from Osoyoos on the border with the USA is the favourite route for Americans driving to Alaska through the Okanagan as it the most direct route to connect with Dawson Creek at Mile Zero....

    It's a fascinating country up there and you should make a point of driving it one day - it's only 1500 miles - each way plus the distance from Saskatoon !

    I note that the envelope is sent to the 2nd Infantry Div of Dieppe fame - I was in a British Tank bde which supported 1st Div all through Italy.
  5. macrusk

    macrusk Proud Daughter

    Mr. Canning,

    Dad and I both worked in the Ft. Mac oilsands too! He with Syncrude as Bechtel was building in the mid 70s and I with Great Canadian Oil Sands later in the 70s in Top Shop. I asked as I had wondered if you and Dad might have been in similar places at the same time.

    I lived in the main Ft Mac townsite and also Waterways. Even went down through the old Abasands Heights to the river (can't remember if it was the House or Horse River) to rubber raft to where it joined the Athabaska River system. Thanks for reminding me of other memories!
  6. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Senior Member

    If you think the Alaska/Canadian highway was a "rush job" it might be of interest that it had been a long-standing plan. And the final hurdle was cleared in March of 1942.

    Icy mountains and the icier indifference of officialdom have for 13 years raised impassable barriers against a military highway from the U.S. to Alaska. Last week came a sudden thaw. From Ottawa (not Washington) the word went out that Alaska may get its highway at last.

    The final decision had lain with Canada. The U.S. was willing to put up the money -some $25,000,000 to $30,000,000-and willing to maintain the road until war ends. But Canada had not much liked the idea of an "alien highway" through its territory.

    There had been four possible routes. Last week Canada's Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King announced approval of a highway running far inland-northwest from Edmonton, beyond Grand Prairie, beyond Fort St. John, to Fort Nelson, Whitehorse and Fairbanks.


    ALASKA: At Last, The Highway - TIME
  7. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Watched a program on the TV about the construction of this highway last year, the cut the trees and used them just like they did WW1 as a corduroy road.
    They dropped units in at various places and worked to meet up with them through terrible conditions at times.
    It was worth watching and the road road/Highway was a great feat of engineering.
  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just thought I'd mention it's completion was 'officially' celebrated 70 years ago.

    from wiki

    Although it was completed on October 28, 1942 and its completion was celebrated at Soldier's Summit on November 21 (and broadcast by radio, the exact outdoor temperature censored due to wartime concerns), the "highway" was not usable by general vehicles until 1943.
  9. Rav4

    Rav4 Senior Member

    It's amazing what one comes across on this forum. After finding this post I wanted to make a comment about being a member of the RCE band at the transfer of maintenance of the Alaska HWY to the Dept. Of Public works. Did a search and found a picture of the band. Would anyone know how I could obtain a copy of the photo?

    Alaska Highway - A Yukon Perspective
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I'd contact the Yukon Archives & quote that refernce number.Contact Us - Department of Tourism and Culture - Government of Yukon

    ref Yukon Archives. Geoffrey Bidlake collection, 91/98 #5, PHO 423

    cant find photo in online archives but a super collection of 133 photos from 1942 here.
    search for ''alaska highway''
    Yukon Archives Image Database - Department of Tourism and Culture - Government of Yukon
  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

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  12. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

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  13. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

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  14. kopite

    kopite Member

    I drove from California to Alaska in 1982 via the Alaska Highway. This was before it was paved, when it was still a gravel road. It was in March and there was still lots of snow on the ground, huge potholes everywhere that I had to navigate and sometimes 200 miles between petrol stations. I had been on the highway no more than 100 yards when a vehicle that was leaving sped up and kicked up a rock that cracked my windscreen. Some really great scenery but very desolate. It was an experience to say the least.
    Owen likes this.

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